A blogger convicted of libel for writing about a case made a matter of public record is asking the public for help in being able to take his appeal to the Supreme Court.
Last November, DV reported that blogger Andrés Helgi Valgarðsson was convicted of libel in Reykjavík District Court and ordered to pay damages of 950,000 ISK for writing last July about a neighbour dispute happening in Aratún. The matter was being covered by the press at the time, but the journalist covering the matter was himself sued for quoting publicly available records on the matter.
Andrés wants to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court, and is asking the public for help. Below is the statement he sent to Grapevine:
My name is Andrés Helgi Valgarðsson and last winter, I lost a legal case in front of the Reykjavík District Court, where the charge against me was libel.
It was in relation to the events in Garðabær in the summer of 2010, where a family brutally beat their neighbours, I blogged about this occurance, and was summarily sued.
The lawyers I have consulted agree that the ruling is both strange in terms of internal consistency and the arbitrary use of terms.
If this ruling is allowed to stand, it will cause great restrictions in the freedom of discussion on the web, it will be practically impossible to express your opinion on any person or event without risking a lawsuit.
This is why the ruling must not stand and I will do my utmost to take it to the Supreme Court and have it overturned.
My legal costs have gotten completely out of control and I have no means to pay them all without assistance, this is why I ask for assistance, particularly from parties with a vested interest in freedom from censorship and other restrictions on our freedom to express ourselves online.
Every little bit helps, and the way I see this, if I get all or part of my cost repaid after the supreme court makes it’s ruling, I will repay every contributor back, proportionally if the sum is less than the cost.
None of my collection will be used for any other purpose than my own legal fees. Neither the payment of damages or the legal fees of the opposition, should the supreme court mandate me to pay those.
If you feel you can support me in this, I have opened a special account for the case 0513-14-403842 – kt. 180883-4019.
Andrés Helgi Valgarðsson